Women in Aviation Day

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Lee Murphy
  • 117th Air Refueling Wing/Public Affairs

Innovation is a word that reminds us of our best selves; our endless zeal that demands we constantly push the limit of what is possible. As President John F. Kennedy said in his speech to Rice University in 1962, “We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people.”

At noon on Sept. 23, during the Women in Aviation event at the Southern Museum of Flight, a group of young women were the newest generation to get a glimpse of what the future could hold. They gathered from all over the Birmingham area to see the future of flight, as well as speak to female members of the 117th Air Refueling Wing who are involved in military aviation. 

Yet, the road to the skies is a long and difficult one that requires intense dedication.  

“Study about it, learn about it, ask and get to know pilots and anyone you can,” said Master Sgt. Wilma Davis, a crew chief assigned to the 117th Maintenance Group, when asked about what young women can do to get into the aviation field. 

However, women still sometimes have to face the challenge of joining a field that is made up of mostly males. 

In aviation and the military as a whole there are not many females, so increasing interest in the field at a young age to foster a desire to hone the needed skills early is very important, said Staff Sgt. Tatiana Cookingham, a member of the 117th Maintenance Operations Flight. 

“Today was to talk to little girls, in appreciation for what we do, and show them that we also fly,” said Airman 1st Class Morgan Weinert, a boom operator assigned to the 99th Air Refueling Squadron. 

Perhaps, one day, these young women will choose to fly too, and join the illustrious ranks of all those who pushed the limits in the past and kept the faith of President Kennedy’s promise 55 years ago.